New school opens up village to Adventist message

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Students from Otekwanga School.

A baptism is being celebrated in a Solomon Islands village where there was previously just one Seventh-day Adventist.

The baptism came after an Adventist school was established in Otekwanga village by the Diutadili Adventist Church.

Mannase Susungainia was the only Adventist in the village and his vision was for a school and a church to be built there. Otekwanga School, in Central Malaita, was established through his influence and the support from the district minister and Auki–Malaita regional office.

Recently, a week-long evangelistic program was held in the village, leading to the baptism of 13 people, including four students, on June 20.

Thirteen people were baptised including four of the school students.

Otekwanga School is currently staffed by a layman and two teachers and has around 40 students enrolled in grades 1-4. The children’s ages range from 8 to 18. The school plans to add six and seven-year-olds and two more volunteer teachers, increasing the enrolment to 93. Most of the children speak Pidgin fluently, but the majority of the students can’t read or write.

Solomon Islands Mission associate education director Jannelle Erick visited the school and helped the teachers to develop a basic literacy strategy that they can use to help their students.

“My heart broke when I told the children the story of Moses in the basket, [and] these adult children drew their pictures and we were able to construct simple sentences,” Ms Erick said.

“I could see their eyes glowing with huge smiles as they took their stories home. Little did I realise how much students and teachers needed things we take for granted . . . in some areas such as this it means a lot.”

Otekwanga School was recently built and currently has about 40 students.